NewsPutin vows retaliation after Moscow attack; Ukraine denies involvement

Putin vows retaliation after Moscow attack; Ukraine denies involvement

Władimir Putin
Władimir Putin
Images source: © Getty Images | Contributor
12:49 PM EDT, March 23, 2024

Vladimir Putin issued an extraordinary statement following a terrorist attack near Moscow, vowing that all individuals connected to the "bloody and barbaric attack" would face punishment. An expert suggests it's predictable which direction the Russian investigation will lean, spelling trouble for Ukraine.

Putin echoed details previously disclosed by the Federal Security Service, noting that 11 individuals had been apprehended about the attack, and importantly, four suspects "headed towards Ukraine," allegedly heading for a pre-arranged "window to cross the border."

He also announced an enhancement of the country's anti-terrorism and anti-sabotage protocols, with March 24 declared a day of national mourning in Russia.

Terrorist attack in Russia

This statement drew comments from Anna Maria Dyner, an analyst at the Polish Institute of International Affairs. "Given the narrative around Ukrainian authorities, whom Putin accused of backing the attackers, and his likening of the attackers to Nazis, the probable trajectory of the Russian investigation becomes apparent," she remarked, reflecting her expertise on Russia and Belarus.

Experts suggest the Kremlin might use the attack as a pretext to announce a massive troop mobilization, potentially mobilizing up to 300,000 recruits to break through Ukrainian defenses. Such a move, however, could be unpopular domestically, but the attack might make Russian citizens more receptive to mass mobilization.

Attack in Russia

The Crocus City Hall concert hall in Krasnogorsk, near Moscow, was the scene of a violent assault on Friday. Attackers opened fire on attendees and detonated explosives, igniting a fire that led to the collapse of the building's upper floor.

The Islamic State has declared responsibility for the assault, as reported by Reuters from Friday to Saturday night.

The Investigative Committee's most recent findings confirmed 115 fatalities, a number that may still rise. The FSB's report also hinted at the attackers having "appropriate contacts on the Ukrainian side."

The Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has firmly rejected any suggestions by Russian officials of Ukraine's involvement in the terrorist act at Crocus City Hall. "We view these accusations as a calculated provocation orchestrated by the Kremlin," was the late Friday night response from the Ministry.

On March 7, ahead of the attack, the US Embassy in Moscow alerted American citizens in Russia to steer clear of large gatherings, such as concerts, for 48 hours, citing an imminent threat from "extremists."

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